Stronger Communities

Pillar 1:


At North West, community has always been at the core of who we support. We contribute to local economies by providing economic opportunity through a wide range of employment opportunities and contracts for goods and services. We listen to our community members to better understand their needs and offer products and services that are relevant and accessible to our customers. Our work spans from small community impact to a broad global reach. With 222 stores across a broad geographic region and 7,311 associates, we have an extraordinary opportunity to support and strengthen our communities through our actions.

We strive to use our business and philanthropic resources to address systemic disparities in society, seeking to advance equity for all. As a community partner to over 175,000 northern Indigenous Peoples in Canada, North West commits to advocating for truth and understanding about our collective past. We align the resources of our business to serve communities through a variety of ways that leverage our capacity, including:

  • Continue to build deeper, more constructive relationships with the communities we serve,
    guided by Our Promise to Indigenous Peoples
  • Transformative business and partnership opportunities
  • Community engagement and support
  • Our Healthy Horizons Foundation

Commitments, Goals, and Actions

Commitment: Provide significant social benefit by soliciting opinions from and seeking opportunities to collaborate with community leaders, groups and individuals.

Goals Action Taken in 2022
1.1 Relieve food insecurity pressures in local communities
  • Participated in regional Food Security Work Groups by advocating for a stronger charitable meal system, and by extending the reach of hunger relief and nutrition programs in northern Canada (e.g., Nutrition North Canada).
  • Alaska Commercial Company (ACC) collaborated with regional organizations to assemble and deliver 8,817 boxes of fresh produce, dairy and meat to 20 communities across rural Alaska.
  • Cost.U.Less (CUL) partnered with Kellogg’s, Kraft-Heinz and General Mills to raise almost $60,000 for meals through various campaigns to support food banks in the Caribbean Islands.
1.2 Build strong relationships with communities based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership.
  • Launched Our Promise to Indigenous Peoples, a reaffirmed commitment to building more collaborative relationships that will enhance the inclusion and social well-being of Indigenous People of Canada.
  • Ensured continuous communication with community leaders, sharing the current state of our stores’ operations, including safety protocols, pricing, staffing, product supply and strategies for circumstances impacting the community.
1.3 Increase grant funding to Indigenous youth programming through our Healthy Horizons Foundation (HHF) charity.
  • Through the HHF charity, North West dispersed almost $260,000 in 2022 to support several programs and
    initiatives that aim to empower youth in northern
    Indigenous communities. We do this to actively engage
    in Reconciliation in northern and rural communities,
    through partnerships, resource sharing and funding.
    Funding provided support:
  • Health and well-being – supporting a holistic and spiritual approach to health (e.g., gym equipment, sports programs, healthy eating education, mental health supports of all kinds).
  • Culture and education – supporting Traditional Knowledge sharing and community celebration (e.g., land-based education programs for language revitalization, cultural events, powwows, sweat lodge)
  • Food security, sovereignty and nutrition – supporting infrastructure, education and lifetime access to food (e.g., growing, harvesting, preparing, enjoying nutritious and fresh food, ensuring lifelong access to food).
1.4 Train employees to become aware of the history, culture, and realities of local Indigenous communities
  • Achieved a total participation of almost 100 employees (Northern/NorthMart store managers, department managers, corporate, and new hires) in an Indigenous Cultural Awareness program through our Training Centre.
  • For 2022, the cultural awareness programs included physical and virtual sessions to support a proper engagement of store managers and other employees to learn more about the history and realities of local Indigenous communities.
1.5 Ensure that Indigenous businesses have equitable access to business development opportunities at North West.
  • Entered and continued 87 leasehold business partnerships with Indigenous communities; compounding economic benefit to remote economies.
  • Implemented approximately 400 projects of varying sizes with community contractors and businesses, creating positive impact in the communities we serve. Our policy is to work with as many communities as we can, either directly or indirectly through subcontractors.
  • Continued to develop our Indigenous Procurement Policy to ensure Indigenous businesses have equitable access to business development opportunities at North West.
  • Partnered with Dreamcatcher promotions, a 100% Indigenous owned and operated apparel business to launch an Indigenous assortment across Northern/NorthMart stores, and for MMIWG2S+ and Orange Shirt Day initiatives.
1.6 Support important community events and causes, particularly those that align with North West's commitment to Indigenous Reconciliation.
  • We proudly support a wide range of community events and causes – from traditional and cultural celebrations to sports teams - through almost $2.2 million in donations and sponsorships and with volunteer time from North West employees.
  • Continued to support the City of Winnipeg’s Indigenous Accord, sharing commitment on the journey toward Reconciliation.
  • North West provides a comprehensive report each year, highlighting how the company has been addressing actions about the Truth & Reconciliation Commitments (TRC) and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).